Last updated: June 18. 2013 5:50PM - 1764 Views

The Abington Journal • Clarks Summit, PA
The Abington Journal • Clarks Summit, PA
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Valedictory address

Thank you Celeste! Good evening and welcome, families, faculty, administration, school board members, friends, family, and, most importantly, students. First, we should give the family and teachers in attendance a big round of applause. Without their support, many of us would not have been able to soar to the amazing heights we have today, and we should all be grateful for their assistance. Moreover, thank you, Abington Heights class of 2013. I am honored to have the privilege of representing some of the brightest, most talented students in the area. I look out and see my classmates who have also accomplished so much. Our class consists of brilliant scholars, authors, musicians, actors, athletes, and everything in between. We’ve formed the ranks of wildly successful, title-winning, debate, mock trial, robotic, Odyssey of the Mind, athletic, Scholastic Bowl, foreign language, and Envirathon teams. Furthermore, the class of 2013 has captured countless silver and gold key awards, donated hundreds of hours of time to various service projects, received National Merit Scholar recognitions, and earned district, regional, and state band, orchestra, and chorus selections. So put your hands together for the awe-inspiring accomplishments of the class of 2013.

On Tuesday morning, I sat at the breakfast table and tried, in vain, to compose my speech. It proved difficult to encompass the inherent greatness of our class in a single address. Try as I might, I couldn’t write anything that was satisfactory. Like any high school student seeking information and guidance, I surfed Google for ideas. Alas, the search engine couldn’t pull through this time. I glanced down at my bowl of lucky charms and sighed in disappointment; how was I ever going to create a non-cliché, original speech? As I dejectedly stirred the sugary cereal, inspiration struck: a four-year experience at Abington Heights High School is kind of like eating a bowl of lucky charms. Now, before you dismiss this connection as silly, please hear me out. Our time at AH has been like a helping of lucky charms not because the cafeteria food is especially “magically delicious,” nor because Mr. DiPerri is as little as a leprechaun, although he is certainly magical. Nonetheless, consider the anatomy of an overflowing bowl of this delicious cereal. First, there are the frosted oat pieces, which nobody really cares for. These are all the not-so-great times in high school—the stress, the tests and quizzes, the drama, the early mornings, and all those times you had to run the timed mile in gym class. During my daily breakfast routine, I eat all these pieces first in order to get to the scrumptious part: the marshmallows. These sugary little guys represent all of the best parts of our days spent at the high school—the dances, the triathlons, the spirit weeks, the art shows, the pep rallies, the concerts, the plays, and all of the sporting events. These wonderful marshmallows are the gems of our time at Abington Heights—chanting and cheering in the blue crew, sharing a laugh with a friend, sitting outside at lunch and enjoying the weather, listening to a favorite teacher tell a hilarious story. These are the simple moments that we will look back upon with fondness and that will hopefully leave a positive impression of Abington Heights upon our memories. After you’ve consumed an entire bowl of lucky charms, you’re left with this strange grayish-colored milk, and you’re not really quite sure what to do with it. It’s kind of like the future ahead of us: uncertain and a little murky. After graduating, we will go in a myriad of different directions: to different colleges, to the military, to the workforce. We cannot know for sure where we will end up four years from now. However, when I have tasted that oddly-hued leftover milk, it has always been surprisingly sweet and delicious. Similarly, although our futures may seem a little uncertain, I hope that we all can find the sweetness in the promise and opportunities that lie ahead.

Now comes the part where many audiences expect to hear an earth-shattering pearl of wisdom that will change their lives forever. However, there are wiser, more worldly individuals

who could deliver far better advice than I. Rather than recite a puzzling quote, I will simply admit that I do not have any extraordinary recommendations to provide, and how can I? At 18 or 19 years of age, most of us do not have the experience to know exactly how we want to live our lives. Instead, I encourage you to be open to the wisdom and advice of those who are more experienced in life. From the long list of thank-yous at the beginning of this speech, it is clear that there are people who helped us get this far in life. Surely, there will be others who will aid us as we continue in our journey. Listen to and learn from these people—your parents, mentors, and professors. As much as we may not like to admit it, sometimes, they can offer priceless insight.

Although they may not sound incredibly brilliant, I do have some suggestions for you, the class of 2013. Be thankful for the positive things in your lives, it is all too easy to become caught up in everyday problems, so we should strive to keep things in perspective. Laugh every day, enjoy a good Mannings ice cream every once in a while, and learn to chill out. Cherish your relationships and work to form new bonds with all different kinds of people. Do the things that scare you the most; you’ll learn more about yourself that way. Above all, seize every opportunity and fiercely pursue your goals. In the words of the great Mr. Uram, “it’s your life.” Get through the average frosted oat pieces so you can enjoy the marshmallows and, above all, the gray milk. Thank you and best of luck, Abington Heights class of 2013.

Evan Eckersley

Salutatorian’s Address

14 June, 2013

So let’s get real here. What has really been going on in the past four years? What you have seen includes fundraisers like Joe Corbi’s, the carnation sale, a spring dance, all you can eat … Moe’s. (Shuffle Papers). Sorry… wrong speech. Excuse me (Shuffle papers. Look at watch for thirteen seconds).

Can you guess what that was? Thirteen seconds. It seemed like a long time, right? But, in reality, it’s only one 31,536,000 of the thirteen years we have just passed through in this education to be here today. But for now, let us present those thirteen seconds as a scale representation of those thirteen years. And here (bring out model school) is a scale model of the high school. And here (bring out small people) is our class. And here is our story:

Four years ago, after ruling the middle school for a year, we were at the top of the world… only to fall back to the bottom of that power pyramid as freshmen. We may have only seemed sacrificial pawns to those upper classmen that we idolized. Yet, we had already taken root in this new school. The liberty to walk outside between mods in itself was a huge freedom. And after climbing through the obstacles of upperclassmen disparagement, walking (or sprinting) across the building to get to the next class, and dealing with the foreign, high-tech devices they called lockers, we had reached level two,

Sophomore year (the year no one remembers). We continued to grow within the school, and I can’t remember the rest. So somehow, we reached level three, junior year (the year everyone hates). Here, our class truly began to stand out as the true leaders and scholars that we are. We fought through SAT’s, PSSA’s, the college application process, and the most dreaded of all Abington has to offer… Junior Writer’s Workshop (gasps). Yet, at the end of the tunnel, we saw the light shining atop that power pyramid. Could it be? It was, level four. Senior year. And we did not stop there. During this year, we became stars in academics, arts, and athletics, we proved ourselves leaders throughout the corners of this school, and we claimed the golden tube on Fun Friday in a crushing defeat against the underclassmen.

Do you know why? Because YOU are the best. Among us we have racked up district, regional, state, national, and world rankings. We have annihilated test scores. We have changed this school and community. But most importantly, we have proven the quality of our character as individuals, and we truly are a class of individuals.

Now, let’s jump back to junior year, even though no one really wants to go back to those dark days. I was sitting in French class conversing in English with Chris Swisher, last year’s salutatorian. He too was an officer, so we began to discuss the stereotypes associated with the different classes. You have the predominantly artistic class, the athletic, or the lazy. You have the class of dropouts, the class of partiers, and the class that obsesses over eighties dance crazes and video games. Chris claimed that his class was the one that never showed up to school. Think what you will. After identifying the trends of classes past and present, I said, “Wait, Swish, you never said what people think of my class.” And he replied, “Your class is the weirdos.”

Nice. The weirdos. Yet, at the time, I accepted his label with the utmost pride. I didn’t interpret it, nor did he seem to intend it, as a slap to the face or a kick to the shin or a head-butt to the ankle. No, I realized that this label fit our class perfectly. Now, this is not weird in the sense of two guys running around on a stage, one dressed in a four year-old’s dinosaur costume and the other dressed in a giant cereal box (even though two of our classmates have done that). It is weird in the sense that we aren’t afraid to show the world who we are, what we do, and what we value. As I said, we truly are a class of individuals, but not only that. We are a class of individuals that genuinely appreciates the value of each other’s talents, strengths, and successes while caring for each other’s needs.

As an example, I would like to mention Connor. Last week, he broke his leg in the school, so close to the end of the year. A few days later, I saw a card laid out in front of the cafeteria, probably twenty feet long, with hundreds of notes and names written on it, wishing Connor well. Now, he joins us at this ceremony as a testimony to the strength of our bonds and mutual care as a class. We are one, and as parts of that one, we succeed. Now we graduate, and that is the end of our story (pretend to walk off. Pause thoughtfully and return).

But, in reality, this is just the beginning. We are merely at the base of that pyramid. Yet, now it is a structure that we will build on our own.

Over the years, people have called me an idealist. I don’t deny it and I don’t regret it either. Yet, as I think about all of us going our separate ways into this vast world, I begin to hope. In this hope, I envision a world where foes are friends and friends are brothers and sisters. I envision a world free of poverty and devoid of war. I envision a future where the debt crises of this world are solved. I envision the curing of cancer, the development of green energy like solar power and one day even nuclear fusion, and a world where integrity reigns supreme. Impossible, you may say? Yet, these are problems that the world is already on the way to solving, and when I envision this class’s future, I cannot help but hope. Now, let us scale our successes in this school up to the level of the real world. Maybe then, we can make the impossible the possible.

Thank you for everything, and may our bonds as a class remain a part of us for the rest of our lives.

President Evan L. Eckersley


Alexandra Pusateri

Will attend the University of Pittsburgh honors college and majoring bioengineering.

Daughter of Joseph and Michele Pusateri

Activities and awards:

* Abington Heights girls’ tennis team, four-year letterman and team captain, captured team and doubles district gold medals and singles district silver medal, accumulated six district medals overall.

* Abington Heights symphony and honors orchestras, two time PMEA district festival participant

* National Honor Society

* Abington Heights Relay for Life committee

* Student council treasurer

* Prom committee

* Our Lady of the Snows Youth Group


Evan Eckersley

Abington Heights High School Class of 2013

Abington Heights High School hosted its commencement Friday, June 14 at the school football field, Linden Street, Clarks Summit.

Abington Heights High School members of the Class of 2013 include: Allison Marissa Abdalla, Brandon John Addeo, Ashley Marie Akers, Alexandra Kathryn Albright, Sean Robert Albright, Alex Francis Altier, John James Andrews, Pranali Mohan Annaldas, Jake Gordon Arnold, Doaa Hani Atamna, Quincy Baker Atkins, Brenndan John Baldwin, Marc Adam Balzani, Jason Samuel Bamford, Emily Lauren Barrett, Tyler James Barrett, Brandon James Barrett, Grayson David Basalyga, Paige Sydney Basalyga, Madeline Margaret Belknap, Natalie Helen Belknap, Brianna Benson,Lindsey Leigh Bird, Christina Zoe Black, Heather Marie Bloom, Michelle Marie Bohenek, Nicholas Robert Bosque, Ellen Katherine Brown, Jacob Alexander Brown, Kelsey Jane Brown, Rodman Jeremy Brown, Celine Ann Brunetti, Joseph Michael Brutico, Matthew Thomas Bruzzano, Troy Mason Bunnell, Carmen Antonio Caputo, William Myles Caputo, Michael Larios Carr, Margaret Rose Carter, Marisa Nicole Carter, Sierra Nicole Caswell, Molly Ann Chambers, Alexandria Joan Chapman, Paul Anthony Cheng, Peter Jason Cheng, Alexandra Dominique Cola, Spencer Aidan Coleman, Melanie Ann Coles, Cameron Elizabeth Collarini, Patrick Conahan, Erica Marie Conniff, Gerald Robert Connor, Sean Michael Conway, Sean Patrick Corcoran, Cali Marie Crapella, Dominic Antonio Cadiz Cuellar, Tyler Michael Cupelli, Emily Paula Davis, Taylor Elizabeth Davis, Samantha Alexis Dench, Alexandra Elizabeth DeQueiroz, Alexander Matthew Devaney, Colleen Marie Devine, Ryan Michael Devine, Conor George Dickinson, Alyssa Kate Dikeman, Brandon John Dougherty, Jennifer Ann Drazba, Evan Loc Eckersley, James Christopher Egan, Paige Noel Eisenlohr, Jessica Nicole Ellis, Kevin Christopher Elwell, Rachel Lynn Ezrin, Niccolo Michael Fazio, Kasey Megan Feather, Megan Elizabeth Fellows, Christian Jeremy Ferreira, Connor Joseph Fialko, Andrew Jacob Fiegleman, Gina Renee Fiore, Ryan Joseph Fiorillo, William Patrick Fitzgerald, Kaitlin Elizabeth Fletcher, Steven Robert Floyd, Tara Foley, Alexei Thomas Fox, Heidi Joan Frantz, John Lee Fuehan, Kristie Jane Furiosi, Alysabeth Schoen Galaydick, David Alexander Galaydick, Rebecca Ann Gervais, Shomik Ghosh, Maria Bryn Gibson, Jesse James Gilbride, Kelsey Brooke Gleason, Blake Stec Gockley, Sean Miles Gordon, Alexis Marie Goreschak, Rhiannon Marie Gray, Matthew Joseph Gronsky, Patrick Joseph Haggerty ,Morgan Jude Hanchulak, Lindsey Annette Hannigan, Patrick John Harris, Katrina Ann Helcoski, Kory Paul Helcoski, Cassidy Rae Henry, Jamie Christian Henzes, Kellan Elizabeth Hirschler, Max H. Hollander, Geoffrey Matthew Hoyt, Peter George Hubbard, Bradley Martin Huegel, Mary Catherine Jakes, Victoria Elizabeth Jeschke, Kory Warren Jones, Thomas Edward Jubon, Ryan Williams Judge, Martha Kathryn Kairis, Winter Barbara Kamora, Mohamed Kasim, Patrick James Kearney, Kevin Charles Kerns, Ryan James Kiernan, Paige Lynn Kinney, Christopher Gainer Kirby, Rebekah Knicole Kisser, Brynn Lee Kizer, Corryn Brooke Klien, Kaylee Rose Kline, Efe Evren Koch, Kyle Robert Kocsis, Jason David Kohn, Alicia Kathleen Kohut, Nicholas Alan Kremp, Ryan James Kresge, Jessica Ann Kurey, Sadie Jayne Kutyna, Holly Lois LaCapra, Josephine Ruth LaCoe, Claire Patricia Lakatos, Allison Marie Lamanna, Gerald Maurice Langan, Patrick John Lange, Alyssa Elizabeth Laubham, Ellen Anastasia Leightcap, Andrew Richard Leister, Richard Connor Lenahan, Alicia Ann Lesneski, Ariana Sophia Lomeo, Samuel Avery Lomeo, James Edward Lowe, Jr., John Joseph Lupo, Raven Adria Lydon Nicole Kathryn Madensky, Chloe Nichole Maloney, Abigail Marie Mappes, Joseph Michael Marciano, Jessica Martin, Christian John, Lawrence Mazur, Jesse Christopher McCawley, Courtney Lynn McCreary, Casey Lynn McDermott, Katherine Marie McDonald, Emily Faith McGarry, Kaitlyn Marie McIntyre, Jessica Lynn McMinn, Jordan James McNally, Madeline Zoë McNichols, Andres Medina, Amanda Therese Mehall, Anthony Thomas Mercuri, Christopher Anthony Michaels, Nicolus Alexander Todd Miller, John Joseph Milliken III, Laura Beatrice Moeller, Nathan Michael Montella, Christopher James Murnin, Laine Marie Murphy, Thomas John Murray, Emma Katharine Musto, Sarah Myers, Celeste Neary, Paige Kelsey Neidrich, Courtney Alexsandra Norton, Kimberly Nicole Novak, Kelsey Michelle O’Donnell, Jacob O’Leary, Mary Margaret Olinyk, Kacey Elizabeth Olver, Amelia Oon, Lucas Benjamin Ortiz, Aleksandr Josef Ososki, Caleb James Overholser, Rachel Lee Owens, Monica Lynn Pacyna, Gina Marie Palmiter, Maitri Samir Pancholy, Sarah Jane Parkinson, Brittany Charl Parry, Dante Dominick Pasqualichio, Dylan Curtis Passetti, Dillan Patel, Ryan Jameson Patrick, Chelsea Ann Patti, Zackary James Peercy, Samantha Leah Perry, Neil Douglas Petersen, Matthew Patrick Pettinato, Michael Glenn Pettinato, Melissa Morgan Pierre, Sarah Joan Pietrzykowski, Amy Elizabeth Pisanchyn, Madeleine Rachel Prestogeorge, Sebastian Richard Norman Pruett, Cody Taylor Puckett, Faith Ocean Purdy, Alexandra Marie Pusateri, Hannah Elizabeth Radkiewicz, Jonathan Edward Rarrick, Nathan James Ratchford, Laura Elizabeth Regula, Demi Nicolle Richardson, Sarah Christine Richardson, Kiernan Elizabeth Riley, Kenneth Michael Rink, Jake Allen Roba, Brittany Nicole Robacker, Jean Marie Robacker, Katherine Grace Rosencrance, Liza Ellen Rosenstein, Taylor Theresa Ross, Danielle Renee Rothka, Thomas James Ryder, Christopher Peter Sagan Jr., Sean Michael Sanderson, Kelsey Rose Sarafinko, Daniel Clayton Schlosser, Tyler Austin Sebastianelli, Arielle Victoria Secoolish, Kierstyn Dian Selig, Nicholas Thomas Senuk, Morgan Alexandra Seymour, Steven Alexander Shields, Sarah Angela Skierkowski, Kiana Lee Sladicki, Joshua Francis Slocum, Sarah Ann Sopinski, Cole Edward Srebro, Nicole Ann Stefko, Bethany Moon Stevens, Brooke Allison Storms, Chad Christopher Strickland, Madison Vienna Strony, Dante Luigi Surace, Zachary Daniel Sutter, Mary Elizabeth Swift, William Gilroy Swisher, Zackary Nabil Tamimi, Nicole Thomas, Irene Torresani, Panagiotis Christopher Tsaklas, Thomas David Twiss, Krysta Lynn VanDeinse, Bradley M Wagner, Kyle Eugene Walsh, Eric Mitchell Washo, Stacey Claire Watkins, Peter Andrew Watters, Ashley Rose Welter, Sonya Monique Wentz, Meredith Eileen Westington, Simon Patrick Williams, Camille Joanna Woehlecke, Amy Svetlana Wolsiffer, Uriah Woody, Brianna Lynn Woytach, Zachary Lee Yahn

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